04 December 2016

A Jam-Packed Monday on the Island

Monday morning was a little overcast, but we had set it aside for a day of exploration.  Wanting to try something new for breakfast, we decided to stop in at Valley Bistro. I had been there for lunch once before but this was my first time sampling their petit dejeuner. It was bright and airy, and the circulating ceiling fans kept the breakfast area comfortable, despite the lack of breezes coming through.

Michael decided on a made to order omelet while I opted for the croque monsieur. The lateness of the hour means we missed the breakfast rush and our food arrived quickly.  Ample portions at good prices would be enough to recommend Valley Bistro, but the food was good and the central location was very pleasant, and it’s a place I intend to keep on my regular rotations on future visits to the island.


We finished our breakfast at a leisurely pace and made our way farther east. Our next stop? AARF. We had seen their request for more circular stickers for pricing items in their shop, so we dropped some of those off, but primarily we were there to play with the puppies! AARF had constructed an outdoor play area since my last visit, so we were led out there where a handful of pups were already getting their morning constitutional. As soon as we walked outside, they swarmed us, so we took turns picking each of them up and giving them woogies.

Lookit his ears!

Dat tongue!
There was one small pup who was too shy to come near us. He (she?) darted under the bench, so I sat down on the ground to get a little closer and talk softly to try to coax him out.  He left met touch his front paw with one finger, but that was all.

Michael says that it looks like the black pup is saying, “I wish I were bold like you.”  We stayed until we were both so uncomfortable out in the sun that we had to call it quits, and then headed east some more.  I had hoped that we could stop by the Anguilla Heritage Museum, but they were closed, so we made our way to Savannah Bay instead. Michael was apprehensive about the road after hearing repeated conversations about it with other folks on the island, but I wanted him to see a very different side of the island. As it turns out, the road wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but we still drove at a snail’s pace.

We walked along the beach to the point where the sand gives way to rocks & coral and made some photos, but the sun felt pretty brutal, despite the overcast skies. But I love the textures and the colors there.

It was really hot, so after making some photos and a short video of the sea, we walked back to Nat’s to order some Tings. We sat and chatted with him for a while, then got back in the car towards Island Harbour.

Coming down the hill into the fishing village and seeing that water will always take my breath away. I’m not sure what was happening with my camera lens here, but all of the photos I made with that lens now have those odd little superimposed squiggles. (Any tips what to do about that before I use my camera again?)

Seriously, how beautiful is that water?
Getting back in the car, we drove onwards looking for the new Anguilla Sea Salt company. We passed it before we realized what we had found and simply double backed. The man there was very kind and friendly, talking to us about the process they use to harvest the sea salt. He also let me walk out onto the miniature golf course to make some photos, including the photo of inside the  double hole that showcases some of Anguilla’s history.

We hit the road once more, this time with the Savannah Gallery in mind as our destination.  Frank welcomed us both to sit down on his back porch with a cold Perrier and we whiled away more time talking about island life, American politics, family, dogs, and upcoming changes to the island with the new season.  Then Frank led us through the gallery to showcase some new pieces he had acquired since my last visit:

We thought about stopping in at DaVida for a light snack, but  we decided we weren’t hungry enough to do that with our reservations for dinner at Veya that night.  So we went home to Villa Ella for a quick swim and a nap to get ready for our primo meal ahead, after a brief detour so I could show Michael my (and everybody else’s) favorite little pink chattel house on the island.

Our reservation was for 7:00, which I figured would give us time to get settled in and order a round of cocktails before Omari started playing downstairs. I thought we’d be on the early side, but the restaurant was packed when we arrived. We even had to back out into the drive to find a parking spot, their car park was so crowded. One of our servers brought us an amuse bouche of soup, which I think may have been pumpkin, and then I had to make a terribly difficult decision -- to order off the menu or to request the chef’s tasting menu.  

Our yummy soup

Vera’s signature sea urchin votive holders
The latter won out, despite the price increase since my last visit, and it wasn’t cheap then. (NB: Nor should it be, but I do have to think twice, possibly thrice, before spending that much money on a single dinner, albeit an extraordinary one.)  Michael, meanwhile, decided to try the Grilled Jerk Spice Tuna with a rum coffee glaze, stacked with caramelized pineapples and fried plantains -- which is quite possibly my favorite entrée there. The courses unfolded one by one, with his main course delivered between two of mine.  Despite the small size of each course in the tasting menu, I would not have been able finish everything if I had not been sharing. 

Mahi mahi ceviche with dill crème fraiche, ginger, and scallion

Simple grilled sea lice

Michael’s dish

Duck with Brussels sprouts, carrot purée and seasoning peppers,
Michael opined that it was his favorite duck he’d ever had.

Lamb lollipops
Our dessert course was good -- Michael chose the trio of creme brûlée and I was given a selection that included banana sorbet, hazelnut mousse bars, and what was supposed to be a coconut creme brûlée but which turned out to be a ginger one instead. I would most definitely have preferred the coconut, but that’s a minor quibble in the face of such supreme deliciousness over the course of the evening. Spectacular from beginning to finish, and a meal whose memory I will long treasure. 

Omari was just finishing up downstairs by the time we departed, and if I had had even one square millimeter to spare in my belly, I would have pressed to stay at Meze for a small nibble to enjoy the ambience. But alas, that was not the case, so we made our way home and rolled into bed to be well-rested for our next adventure in the morning.  


  1. We love Nats, it is always a treat to go out there and spend time with him.
    Great pictures Emily, I enjoyed it all.

    1. Next time I'd like to stay put there and try some of Nat's food. I've only ever purchased a cold drink there.

  2. I found myself smiling so much whilst reading this. Food, puppies, art, food. You "bookended" the day perfectly!
    Did you get any of the salt? I am keen to try it. I am brand loyal to Maldon so interested to see how this compares.
    A great read. I am really enjoying sharing your trip.

    1. Yeah, we did buy some salt but I haven't tried it yet. Looking forward to it!

  3. Emily - I think his lobster and crayfish are some of the best on the island, and his Johnnie cakes are legendary, not cheap, but a great spot on a rainy day - as it takes a while.

  4. PUPPIES!!!

    Also, oh man, that food looks/sounds so good. So so good


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